5 Bizarre Problems Modern Militaries Are Facing
Science fiction convinced us that the biggest problem with the military by 2018 would be A) trying to distinguish humans from cyborg infiltrators and B) runaway defects caused by our attempt to genetically engineer super soldiers. The real challenges are every bit as difficult, but ten times as stupid. Like how ...
We're Getting Too Fat To Fight
I know that we can't expect every person who defends America to have Chris Evans' shirt-crippling physique, but studies say that soldiers are transitioning from Captain America to Colonel Sanders. Research from The Citadel, a military college in South Carolina which is seriously called that good lord, indicates that recruits coming in from 11 Southern states, including Alabama, Florida, and Texas, were found to be "significantly less fit and/or more likely to become injured than recruits from other states." This isn't the military trying to fat shame anyone per se; it's them saying that out-of-shape recruits are a national security risk.
And while it would be easy to joke that "Of course it would be from Southern states, that part of the country is 90 percent Waffle House," it's actually a widespread issue. More than a quarter of Americans between the ages of 17 and 24 don't meet the physical requirements for military service. That shrinks the recruitment pool significantly, especially when you consider how many more will wash out for other reasons, and the broader fact that the majority of young people have no desire to sign up at all. (What, they aren't excited about celebrating our 17th year in Afghanistan?)
Speaking of, in 2007, German forces stationed in Afghanistan somehow drank 1.7 million pints of beer, which helps explain why 40 percent of their military qualifies as overweight. And the Spanish Legion forced their troops onto a weight loss regimen in 2018 after an analysis revealed 6 percent of them to be obese. That seems like a low number, except that this is the Spanish Legion, part of their rapid response force with a legendary reputation for not wheezing their way onto battlefields.
Soldiers in the UK were being given Fitbits to help monitor their physical activity. And Canada released a study which showed their military may be the softest of all, with nearly 50 percent of them being overweight, 25 percent of regular force personnel being obese, and 6.1 percent being morbidly obese. That's 100 lbs overweight. In the military. So if you ever want to attack Canada, know that you can escape our military pretty easily by running up a slight incline.
Soldiers Keep Revealing Their Movements Via Their Phones/Apps
With the rise of social media and our tendency to always be connected to something somewhere, there's an abundance of issues with soldiers accidentally sharing things. Like, for instance, the whereabouts of secret bases. There's a fitness app called Strava that released a stinky dump of information about its users exercise habits, including GPS points on maps. The military was quick to notice that you can plot routes and locations of military personnel based on this data if you know what you're looking for. I'm no tactician, but I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that that's not what soldiers want to happen.
U.S. soldiers also had to be told to stop geotagging photos because they were posting images to Facebook tagged in ways that gave away where they were stationed. If you're not sure why that might be an issue, in 2007, Iraqi resistance forces looked at photos of a new fleet of helicopters that American soldiers had posted, determined their exact position, and launched a mortar strike that destroyed four of them.
And again, it's not just an American thing, as we saw when Russian troops outed Vladimir Putin as a liar. Russia routinely denied ever having a military presence in Ukraine until some surely-not-drunk soldier on the ground posted Instagram selfies of himself in Ukraine, according to GPS data that was included. Tons of other Russians have made the same stupid mistake, and all of them are probably up to their nuts in frozen borscht in Siberia right now.
Soldiers Won't Stop Posting Sexy Photos
Can you be sexy in the military? I think that was the tagline for Top Gun, and even that documentary didn't give any conclusive answers. But if you were to ask the people in charge of soldiers, they would probably answer in the resounding negative.
The Utah National Guard disciplined four soldiers in 2014 who put together a bikini calendar. The soldiers took some of the photos at Camp Williams, and as you know, Camp Williams was founded on the belief that no boob should ever see the light of day. The British military even had to make a special request that troops stop sending pics of tallywhackers to folks back home, not only because it represents a security risk to have all your military genitals floating about, but also because the revenge porn potential was more than anyone wanted to deal with.
The Swiss Army had to crack down on soldiers posting sexy pics in uniform (note that they're not supposed to be taking any pictures in uniform), but at least they were in uniform. Several Israeli soldiers posted pics to Facebook showing themselves wearing nothing but skimpy panties, belts, and guns -- camouflage suitable for a European beach and almost nowhere else. The scourge of being sexy strikes again. It's a pain I know too well.
Porn Addiction Makes Soldiering Hard
Speaking of pain I know too well, the military has a porn problem. Unlike my porn problem, this one's a real sticky wicket, as it's a bit of a national security snafu. The worst kind of masturbation ends in a national security risk, I can tell you that.
In 2012, Pentagon officials had to send out a memo to employees asking them to please, if they wouldn't mind, stop downloading porn at work on super secure government computers. The last thing the country needs is to find itself accessing the missile launch computer, only to have it crash under a bunch of hentai pop-up windows. Fiery hell is raining down on all corners, and whoever's in charge of our defense is trapped by "Japanese housewife SLAMMED in all HOLES."
I would suggest that they find a more secure method of getting their porn -- say, by trading it on physical media -- but in Japan, a sailor copied porn onto a CD (remember those?) and accidentally included classified info on the Aegis missile system on the same disc.
But nothing is more harrowing than China's porn problem, if their state media is to be believed. They claim soldiers are watching so much porn and wanking so much that it's causing swollen ball bag veins. You know how if a guy masturbates too much, it makes his crotch veins swell up? No? You've never, ever heard of that? Well, take it up with the Chinese government.
Gamers Can't Concentrate On Combat, Apparently
The Pentagon, in an effort again to preserve national security, has had to issue Pokemon Go guidelines to employees because it was being played incessantly in the building. There was even a gym. Inside the Pentagon. The concern here is that the game tracks your movements, and if someone is tracking the game, you're potentially mapping the Pentagon for enemy Squirtles. The military in Israel had to do the same thing. As did Canada. And Britain.
China doesn't actually allow Pokemon Go in the country, so they've focused their ire on Honor Of Kings, a League Of Legends-esque game you can play on your phone. It's so popular in China (with 55 million players every day) that it's saturated through their military ranks. The government is not happy about that, since in their opinion, it's a national security threat that also saps the fighting power of their troops. I don't know how true that is, since the dick vein panic above hurts their credibility a bit, but it seems like what matters in both cases is that they believe it's true.
To be fair, the fear of gaming addiction is a worldwide issue. In South Korea, where military service is mandatory, gaming addiction just might get you exempted. The U.S. military has even studied the psychological effects of video game use on soldiers' mental health. The study has shown evidence of sleep deprivation, with one participant working 50 hours a week and gaming up to 30 hours a week on top of that. This leads to a condition that scientists refer to as "Tired as fuck, dude."
Then again, gamers apparently make better drone pilots, so maybe it all evens out in the end.
The military might not be allowed to have Fitbits, but you can!
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